Ever after

Exactly one month has passed since the day forever seared into our memories. It is undeniable that the world is very different from the one we knew. It is dawning on us that a war against terrorism’s constant threat is necessary and justified, given what has recently transpired.

In the latest chapter of an unfolding terrorist threat, officials evacuated an entire Montreal office building because an envelope–a single innocuous envelope–may have been contaminated with anthrax. The envelope apparently came all the way from Florida, where a man died in what may have been a terrorist attack using the deadly bacteria. The facts surrounding this incident are still unclear at this time. Nonetheless, Floridians still cleared pharmacies of anti-anthrax antibiotics anyway, a phenomenon likely duplicated elsewhere.

In the midst of recent coverage surrounding September 11 and its ramifications, there is a feeling of nervousness and confusion in the air that dares us to believe the worst could happen. Such is the predicament of being in a terrorist’s crosshairs, only this mental burden is now inflicted on all of Western society. In response, several nations are active in the effort to destroy terrorism. Because of terrorism’s destructive capabilities, Canada is now committed to a global war on terrorists and will continue to support the united effort.

The most unfortunate lesson learned from the Montreal incident is that security officials must accept that worst case scenarios are now a possibility. Terrorism, in its latest incarnation, demonstrates a more macabre potential for destruction than we, as a collective society, have ever imagined. Our naiveté asks us how we could have been so foolish to imagine ourselves immune. We now understand that terrorism is cheap and effective. It forces us to contemplate doomsday, for only when we can imagine the worst can we resolutely combat it.

We must stir our imaginations to believe that the terrorists are not just evil, sputtering maniacs. We must instead acknowledge they are killers who can act, smile and live among us. We must carefully comprehend those who can use an everyday flight training school to convert an airplane into a weapon. Although terrorist movements like al-Qaeda attempt to use Islam as a means to legitimacy, we must renounce the persecution of innocent Muslims and disregard al-Qaeda’s calls to the Muslim world to rise against America. Due to America’s largely successful diplomatic efforts for Muslim support, al-Qaeda’s attempts to turn the tables will go unheeded.

For all of these reasons, there is a very real and tangible fear among us that constitutes a direct assault on the free world. Exactly one month and a day ago, incidents that would have been gross excesses of precaution do not seem so strange anymore. Anthrax evacuations, like fire drills, might become standard practice.

This cannot continue. Canadians are participating in the upcoming war because ordinary people cannot live with the fear that terrorism inflicts with airplanes, guns, and words. It has dawned on us that a peace under these circumstances is not a very enviable peace at all.

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